UK Bank Holiday

UK Bank Holiday

Upcoming bank holidays in England and Wales

In the United Kingdom and Ireland, a public holiday on which the banks are closed. A bank holiday is generally not a major holiday such as Christmas Day (although, the banks are indeed closed on these holidays), but instead a day that would otherwise be a non-holiday. For example, the first Monday in May is considered a bank holiday, and banks along with many other businesses close for the day.

In the United States, the temporary closing of a bank in the event that its obligations exceed its resources.

Almost all workers are legally entitled to 5.6 weeks’ paid holiday per year (known as statutory leave entitlement or annual leave). An employer can include bank holidays as part of statutory annual leave.

Working 5 days a week

Most workers who work a 5-day week must receive at least 28 days’ paid annual leave per year. This is the equivalent of 5.6 weeks of holiday.

Working part-time

Part-time workers get less paid holiday than full-time workers. They’re entitled to at least 5.6 weeks of paid holiday but this amounts to fewer than 28 days because they work fewer hours per week.

Use the holiday entitlement calculator to work out a part-time worker’s leave.

Irregular hours

People working irregular hours - for example, shift work or term-time work - need to calculate their leave entitlement for irregular hours.

Limits on statutory leave

Statutory paid holiday entitlement is limited to 28 days. For example, staff working 6 days a week are only entitled to 28 days’ paid holiday.

Bank holidays

Bank or public holidays do not have to be given as paid leave.

An employer can choose to include bank holidays as part of a worker’s statutory annual leave.

Extra leave

An employer can choose to offer more leave than the legal minimum. They don’t have to apply all the rules that apply to statutory leave to the extra leave. For example, a worker might need to be employed for a certain amount of time before they become entitled to it.

Other aspects of holiday entitlement

Workers have the right to:

  • get paid for leave
  • build up (‘accrue’) holiday entitlement during maternity, paternity and adoption leave
  • build up holiday entitlement while off work sick
  • request holiday at the same time as sick leave

Disputes

Paid annual leave is a legal right that an employer must provide. If a worker thinks their right to leave and pay are not being met there are a number of ways to resolve the dispute.

more information about holiday entitlement

Find your child’s school term, half term and holiday dates on your local council’s website.

School term and holiday dates vary across the UK.

School term and holiday dates

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Taking Sick Leave

Employees only need a fit note from a doctor after 7 days off work sick. If they are ill just before or during their holiday, they can take it as sick leave instead.

Fit notes and proof of sickness

Employees must give their employer a doctor’s ‘fit note’ (sometimes called a ‘sick note’) if they’re off sick for more than 7 days in a row (including non-working days).

Hospital doctors or GPs can provide a fit note. They may charge a fee if the note is asked for before the 7th day.

The fit note will say the employee is either ‘not fit for work’ or ‘may be fit for work’.

If it says the employee ‘may be fit for work’, employers should discuss any changes that might help the employee return to work (eg different hours or tasks). The employee must be treated as ‘not fit for work’ if there’s no agreement on these changes.

Employers can take a copy of the fit note. The employee should keep the original.

Self-certification

Employers can also ask employees to fill in a form when they return to work to confirm they’ve been off sick for up to 7 days. This is called ‘self-certification’. Employers usually provide their own version of this form.

Sick leave and holiday

Statutory holiday entitlement is built up (accrued) while an employee is off work sick (no matter how long they’re off).

Any statutory holiday entitlement that isn’t used because of illness can be carried over into the next leave year. If an employee is ill just before or during their holiday, they can take it as sick leave instead.

An employee can ask to take their paid holiday for the time they’re off work sick. They might do this if they don’t qualify for sick pay, for example. Any rules relating to sick leave will still apply.

Employers can’t force employees to take annual leave when they’re eligible for sick leave.

Pay

When an employee changes their holiday to sick leave they’re paid Statutory Sick Pay which will count towards the amount of holiday pay they’ve received. The exceptions to this rule are:

  • they don’t qualify for Statutory Sick Pay
  • they were off work sick and being paid ‘occupational sick pay’

Returning to work

Employers should make changes to an employee’s working conditions if they become disabled because of their sickness. These changes are known as ‘reasonable adjustments’ and could include working shorter hours or adapting equipment employees use at work.

Long-term sickness

Employees who are off work sick for more than 4 weeks may be considered long-term sick. A long-term sick employee is still entitled to annual leave.

Help returning to work

Long-term sick employees can ask their employer or GP to refer them to Fit for Work for:

  • health and work advice
  • a fitness for work assessment

Employees can agree to a return to work plan. This may include a timetable for returning to work, if appropriate.

Employers can accept the return to work plan as proof of sickness in the same way as a GP fit note - the employee doesn’t need to keep returning to their GP for a fit note.

Dismissing a long-term sick employee

As a last resort, employers can dismiss an employee who is long-term sick, but before they can do this employers must:

  • consider if an employee can return to work - eg working flexibly or part-time, doing different or less stressful work (with training if necessary)
  • consult with employees about when they could return to work and if their health will improve

An employee can take their case to an employment tribunal if they think they’ve been unfairly dismissed.

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